hybrid martial arts

Ip Man Poetics

I’m back with more from Chinese and Japanese Films on the Second World War edited by King-fai Tam, Timothy Y. Tsu, and Sandra Wilson, this time focusing on Paola Voci’s essay “The Sino-Japanese War in Ip Man: From Miscommunication to Poetic Combat.” I’m counting this as one of my “#Books on Baze” posts, though, because Jiang Wen appears in this essay, too (see below).

Voci’s main argument is that 2008′s Ip Man is a hybrid work, both a martial arts blockbuster – with its “focus on the hero’s martial arts skills and superior morality” placing it in the “martial arts film tradition in which kungfu (wuda) represents an essentialized Chinese culture and nation” – and a Chinese war film, and that, through its translator subplot and its martial arts choreography, “war’s national and nationalistic antagonisms are pushed to the background and the focus is rather on the fallibility of language in fostering mutual understanding.”

The takeaway? Voci suggests that two forms of communication with the enemy are portrayed in the film. The verbal is closed, failed communication, because the two sides are working from different systems of beliefs and unable to understand each other. The successful communication appears with the fighting itself, through the poetics of martial arts: “The violent confrontation is controlled by the specific grammar of the martial arts code that allows the protagonists finally to engage with each other directly, freely, but according to a precise code of motions.” Cinematically speaking, this means “the focus is on the visual as a means to construct a poetic communication that relies on the evocative power of visual metaphors. Each gesture, each movement of their coded fight is charged with symbolic meanings…” (In other words, everyone gets the message when Donnie Yen kicks your ass.)

Voci points out that this focus on war and (mis)communication puts Ip Man squarely within the larger Chinese war-film dialogue, and then compares it with  – you guessed it – Jiang Wen’s Devils on the Doorstep (2000), which, though “radically oppositional to Ip Man’s nationalist ideology,” shares “the same suspicion about language” and “more cynically, suggests that language-based communication may in fact doom humanity to self-destruction.”

More soon!

Martial arts masterlist (Part 1)

In order of country of origin/practice

No weapon


  1. Greco-Roman wrestling
  2. Freestyle wrestling
  3. Coreeda (Australia)
  4. Boli Khela (Bangladesh/India)
  5. Malla-yuddha (Bangladesh/India/Pakistan/Sri Lanka)
  6. Pehlwani (Bangladesh/India/Pakistan)
  7. Huka-huka (Brazil)
  8. Jiu-Jutsu (Brazil)
  9. Bok Cham Bab (Cambodia)
  10. Shuai jiao (China)
  11. Wushu/kung fu (China)
  12. Lancashire wrestling (England)
  13. Kinomichi (France/Japan)
  14. Khridoli (Georgia)
  15. Greek wrestling (Greece, Ancient)
  16. Ringen (Holy Roman Empire)
  17. Glima (Iceland)
  18. Inbuan wrestling (India)
  19. Mukna (India, Manipur)
  20. Varzesh-e pahlavani (Iran)
  21. Collar-and-elbow (Ireland)
  22. Aikido (Japan)
  23. Judo (Japan)
  24. Sumo (Japan)
  25. Tegumi/Mutõ (Japan, Okinawa)
  26. Ssireum (Korea)
  27. Mongolian wrestling (Mongolia)
  28. Buno (Philippines)
  29. Dumog (Philippines)
  30. Kurash (Russia)
  31. Sambo (Russia)
  32. Scottish backhold (Scotland)
  33. Lammb wrestling (Senegal)
  34. Canarian wrestling (Spain)
  35. Schwingen (Switzerland)
  36. Evala wrestling (Togo)
  37. Yağlı güreş/oil wrestling (Turkey)
  38. Karakucak güreşi (Turkey)
  39. Catch wrestling (U.K.)


  1. Boxing
  2. Kickboxing
  3. Musti-yuddha (Bangladesh/India/Pakistan)
  4. Capoeira (Brazil)
  5. Tinku (Bolivia)
  6. Bokator (Cambodia)
  7. Pradal Serey (Cambodia)
  8. Fujian White Crane (China)
  9. Sanda/Sanshou (China)
  10. Shaolin Kung Fu (China)
  11. Wing Chun (China)
  12. Wing Tsun (China)
  13. Zui Quan (China)
  14. Savate (France)
  15. Wushu/kung fu (China)
  16. Sqay (India/Pakistan)
  17. Silat (Indonesia/Peninsular Malaysia/Thailand/Singapore)
  18. Bare-knuckle boxing (Ireland)
  19. Karate (Japan)
  20. Kenpō (Japan)
  21. Taidō (Japan)
  22. Kwonbeop (Korea)
  23. Subak (Korea)
  24. Taekkyeon (Korea)
  25. Taekwondo (Korea)
  26. Tang Soo Do (Korea)
  27. Choi Kwang-Do (Korea, South)
  28. Muay Lao (Laos)
  29. Dambe (Nigeria)
  30. Tomoi (Malaysia)
  31. Lian padukan (Malaysia)
  32. Lethwei (Myanmar)
  33. Dambe (Nigeria)
  34. Sikaran (Philippines)
  35. Suntukan (Philippines)
  36. Russian fist fighting (Russia)
  37. Cheena di (Sri Lanka)
  38. Lerdrit (Thailand)
  39. Muay boran (Thailand)
  40. Muay Chaiya (Thailand)
  41. Muay Thai (Thailand)
  42. Silat Pattani (Thailand)
  43. Shin-kicking (U.K.)


  1. Amateur Pankration
  2. Mixed Martial Arts
  3. Zan Do Kai (Australia)
  4. Butthan (Bangladesh)
  5. Vale tudo (Brazil)
  6. Kuntao (Brunei/China/Indonesia/Malaysia/Philippines/Singapore/Taiwan)
  7. Kbach kun boran Khmer (Cambodia)
  8. Defendo (Canada)
  9. Okichitaw (Canada, Cree)
  10. Wen-do (Canada)
  11. Bàguà Zhǎng (China)
  12. Tàijíquán (China)
  13. Northern Praying Mantis (China)
  14. Xíng Yì Quán (China)
  15. Juego de maní (Cuba)
  16. German ju-jutsu (Germany)
  17. Unifight (Germany/Russia)
  18. Pankration (Greece, Ancient)
  19. Vajra-musti (India)
  20. Kalaripayattu (India)
  21. Pencak Silat (Indonesia)
  22. Tarung Derajat (Indonesia)
  23. Kung Fu To'a (Iran)
  24. Nearu (Iran)
  25. Krav Maga (Israel)
  26. Krav Panim el Panim/KAPAP (Israel)
  27. Bujinkan (Japan)
  28. Ninjustsu (Japan)
  29. Shōrin-ryū Shidōkan (Japan, Okinawa)
  30. Shidōkan Karate (Japan)
  31. Shoot boxing (Japan)
  32. Shootfighting (Japan, U.S.)
  33. Shōrinji Kenpō (Japan)
  34. Hapkido (Korea)
  35. Hankido (Korea)
  36. Hwa Rang Do (Korea)
  37. Kuk Sool Won (Korea)
  38. GongKwon Yusul (Korea)
  39. Kuk Sul Do (Korea)
  40. Tang Soo Do (Korea)
  41. Furūsiyya (Middle East, Mamluk period)
  42. Bando (Myanmar)
  43. Vacón/Bakom (Peru)
  44. Kinamotay (Philippines)
  45. Yaw-Yan (Philippines)
  46. Systema (Russia)
  47. Army hand-to-hand fight (Russia, USSR)
  48. Limalama (Samoa)
  49. Real Aikido (Serbia)
  50. Angampora (Sri Lanka)
  51. Bartitsu (U.K.)
  52. Defendu (U.K.)
  53. World War II combatives (U.K./U.S.)
  54. Combat Hopak (Ukraine)
  55. Kajukenbo (U.S., Hawaii)
  56. Danzan-Ryū (U.S., Hawaii)
  57. Kapu Kuʻialua (U.S., Hawaii)
  58. MCMAP (U.S.)
  59. Chun Kuk Do (U.S.)
  60. Emerson Combat Systems (U.S.)
  61. Gouging (U.S.)
  62. Model Mugging (U.S.)
  63. Close Quarters Combat (U.S.)
  64. Jeet Kune Do (U.S.)
  65. Oom Yung Doe (U.S.)
  66. Special Combat Aggressive Reactionary Systems (U.S.)
  67. Slí beatha (U.S.)
  68. Small circle juJitsu (U.S.)
  69. Spontaneous Protection Enabling Accelerated Response (U.S.)
  70. Cuong Nhu (Vietnam)
  71. Nhất Nam (Vietnam)
  72. Việt Võ Đạo (Vietnam)

There are seven known forms of lightsaber combat. Shii-Cho is the most rudimentary form developed by the Jedi Order, establishing basic motions. Makashi is a graceful style that has become common in duels with the Sith. Soresu, or Way of the Mynock, is meant to be used in close-quarter fighting. Ataru is an acrobatic style best suited for open spaces. Shien, or Djem So, allows a Jedi to deflect blaster fire back at a foe, turning defense into offense. Niman, or Way of the Rancor, is a hybrid martial art that effectively combines elements of the preceding lightsaber forms into a single, generalized form; Niman balances out between the various specializations of the other forms, resulting in a style that lacks advantage, but also lacks any serious drawbacks. Finally, Juyo, or Vaapad, is the most aggressive and unpredictable form, earning the nickname “Ferocity Form.” Because of this, it is generally favored by users of the dark side of the Force, though it is practiced by Jedi as well. The form focuses on offense and has no defensive qualities. However, this is compensated by the speed of the wielder or his/her blade being double-sided.  

Force Crash, by Jiwon Kim.